You can’t write about silence because it doesn’t exist. It pretends to exist, we talk about it, we yearn for it, we aspire to it, but life is never truly silent. There is always something making sound, your heart beating, your lungs breathing, there is always a whisper of life, somewhere.

My mind is never quiet. I have never been able to meditate, to completely clear my thoughts, there is always some phrase or idea that raises its hand and waves for my attention. I don’t think that is necessarily a bad thing, although sometimes I do wish that they would all just sit down and read for a while. Or take a little nap.

But mostly I like that my mind moves in circles, thoughts flowing in and out and around, and then back again, sometimes when I least expect them. I like that a line for a poem can just appear, on a page that my brain has already printed. I like that words are perpetual, always there, my constant companions.

Yes, peace and quiet sound really nice, I wish for both fairly often, but in truth I would probably get bored.

I like to stay up, alone, when everyone else is sleeping, I like the way the house sounds when my husband and son are here and asleep, it is a different sound than when I am home by myself. Even though I can’t really hear anything, I can sense their presence within the quiet. Perhaps it is the peace of their sleep that I feel, palpable evidence of their dreams.

Sound travels further at night, and our dreams entwine themselves around what we hear and tell us the story of that noise, this whisper. They (the proverbial they) say that dreams don’t really play out as stories, that they are just flashes in our brains, synapses, individual thoughts or images that our mind strings together later, and then adds meaning. I’m not sure I believe that.

I think dreams are stories that need to be told.

Poems are emotions that struggle to exist.

Words and images are the conduits.

Silence can exist, in a vacuum. But I am not there.

12 Responses to “sibilance”

  • whollyjeanne Says:

    i swear, some days, i want to christopher columbus it to a place where “they” don’t exist.

    on another note, i just bought me a meditation cushion because of course i couldn’t possibly meditate without the proper accessories . . .

  • margie Says:

    i wonder if silence is really just the absence of noise and that the sounds of nature, our breathing, birds, a creaking house, are the makings of silence.

  • Vonda Says:

    When I try to clear my mind and my thoughts and think of nothing…I have tried this on several occasions…cartoon characters will dance across my mind. Now sometimes, I try to think of nothing, just to be entertained:) Aren’t our minds amazing! They don’t want to stop…it’s a survival mechanism:)

  • beth Says:

    did you read “eat pray love”….
    this reminds me of when she is trying to meditate and just can’t….i don’t do very well in silence…i even sleep with a sound machine on and that says something about me doesn’t it ?

  • Brenda Kula Says:

    Just stumbled upon your lovely blog. How beautiful and poignant your words are! Strung together just right.

  • Marcie Says:

    I think of meditation as simply allowing the thoughts to come and go..without having to react or respond. To ‘silently’ observe..but not to be in total ‘silence’….because – as you say here so eloquently – that silence is elusive..and can never truly be found.

  • kamana Says:

    dreams are stories that need to be told… love that!

  • molly campbell Says:

    I have never been able to clear my mind, either.I have tried meditating, but a cat gets on my lap. I tore muscles in yoga class, and deep breathing gives me the hiccups. This is a beautiful blog, and I appreciate its serenity. I have a prosaic life, filled with cat boxes, dust, furballs, and an accordion playing husband. I will come back again for a breath of calm and serenity. molly

  • ek Says:

    i feel like this in many ways ..i do crave quiet … thoughtful post mm

  • Tracy Says:

    Very lovely… I love the quiet too, but for me, early morning, before the rest of the house/world wakes.

    Although, and this is just a sudden thought: sometimes I wake before five, and it’s light now, so I can see a cat sitting in my bedroom window looking out. He hears me sit up, looks over his shoulder, and says: shhh.

    Hmm. So I’m not always the first to stir. I don’t mind.

  • Debi Says:

    I once worked with a photographer who’d retired from the Navy years earlier. He’d spent most of his time on a nuclear sub and at some point they, for some reason, were in The Arctic Ocean, and emerged surrounded by nothing but ice & snow. Alone. He, the photographer on board, asked for permission to walk out a ways, take some pictures, and was told okay, but watch out for polar bears (they had stationed men atop the top part of the sub with guns should a polar bear appear and prove a problem.) My co-worker walked away from the sub and said the farther he got, the more silent it became. He said silence like you’ve never heard – LOL! He said it became SO silent all he could hear was his breathing, and that the sound of his breathing became unnerving – scary. So he headed back to the sub, soon breaking into a run, trying to outrun the sound of his breath, alarming the shooters atop the sub who were sure he was being pursued by a hungry polar bear. He had to admit to them the truth – nothing but my breathing out there. I’m sure he never lived it down – I know I still laugh about to this day. 🙂

  • lisaschaos Says:

    I swear that you and I are long lost sisters! My mind runs in circles and the quiet does end up boring. I’ve always stayed up later than the others in my house, I get my thoughts out, on paper that way. 🙂

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